Life in the present can be murky. It’s like reading one line in a book without being able to focus on the paragraph before or after. You know what individual words mean, but you can’t quite grasp the context.
You might know you’re stressed, but you don’t know whether there is any reason to be.
You don’t know if the decisions you’ve already made are a benefit or a hinderance to your future because you don’t know how that future reads.
When I first moved from Arizona to Pennsylvania a couple of months ago, a friend asked me if I was starting Phase Four of my life. The question stumped me. I didn’t quite know, and I thought I probably wouldn’t know for sure until the clouds had parted over our present and the sun had a chance to shine down so I could evaluate things in a sharper light.
I started this blog right after Ryan was born. I’d had other blogs before that. A hiking blog, a baking blog, a pregnancy blog. But in the days and weeks after Ryan was born, I couldn’t write. Friends and family begged for updates, saying they missed the easy access to my life that came with my pregnancy blog.
I thought about writing. I wanted to write. But every time I opened the computer, inauthentic words came out. Things I thought I was supposed to say. I wrote, I deleted. I wondered if I had permanently changed. I thought maybe I’d transitioned from a pre-mom Meg to a post-mom Meg.
So I started Phase Three of Life. A new place to write; a fresh start. Life was different now, and my writing could authentically reflect my new feelings. I did feel different. But to be fair, I had waves of hormones rushing through me. I was tired. I wasn’t working for the first time since I was 15 years old. In truth, the baby probably had very little to do with how out-of-sorts I felt.
I thought I had entered Phase Three of my Life. (The First Phase being growing up in Ohio; the Second Phase beginning when I moved to Arizona; the Third Phase beginning with the birth of my son.) But I didn’t have the benefit of context. Context changes meaning, and I couldn’t read the next paragraph.
Now, I’ve finished that chapter, and I think I have the answer to my friend’s question: I haven’t started Phase Four. I actually just started Phase Three. Having my son wasn’t the start of a new phase of my life; it was the perfect, beautiful bookend to a part of my life that will always be special to me. I accomplished so much in those nine years. I developed a rewarding career. I met friends who will be in my life forever. I met a great guy, I married him, we had a baby.
What a great time I had.
When we arrived in Pennsylvania in April, I had a hard time writing. Again, I felt different. The words I forced out were hollow. Write, delete; write, delete. Mike didn’t have a job, we didn’t have a home. The next sentence of my life was blank. Totally blank.
A fresh start. A new landscape. The unknown. Countless new memories ahead of us.
Since then, Mike has landed a job. We are working on the home part now. I’m gaining perspective, context.
And I think, finally, this is my Phase Three of Life. I have no idea how long it will last or what will mark its end.
But what a phase it will be.